Sunday, February 18, 2018

2017 was One Amazing Year, part the second

Picking up from my previous post - my friend, Martha Owen came to visit in July - Martha is the resident Spinner/Knitter/Dyer at the Campbell Folk School.  We spent a day hiking on the Appalachian Trail near my home and at Harpers Ferry WV and then drove up to Millersville PA together where we were both teaching at the MAFA conference.  MAFA = MidAtlantic Fiber Association.  
After all that hiking, my dog Idgy really wanted to come with us to MAFA!  She leapt over all the luggage into the van to prove that there really was room for her.  Sorry, Idgy!  No dogs allowed.

This is my home regional conference but only the second MAFA conference I've been able to attend.  It was a great gathering in spite of scorching temperatures which resulted in brown outs by the local power company.  Then the A/C broke in building where I was teaching Acadian Weaving on our second afternoon,  but the building where Martha was teaching beginning spinning had the heat stuck on!  Creative use of fans saved the weekend.

We also fit in a little antiquing on the way back, although this sweet old blanket came from a vendor at the MAFA market.  I hope to weave a reproduction of this before too long.

September found me heading back to Vermont with my road trip buddy, Liz, for a week long Tweeds and Estate Checks class at the Marshfield School of Weaving.  The students had a great time working on the old looms, weaving a sample on each warp and then choosing a loom to weave off a few yards of tweed cloth. Here is the Hebridean tweed web - we sampled with many different weft colors.  One of the exciting aspects of traditional tweed is how much of an impact the color of the weft thread has on the fabric - these color and weave effects are endlessly fascinating!
To finish off the week, Norman Kennedy led a wool waulking for us on Friday afternoon - a real highlight!

The last weekend of September brings a great local fiber festival - the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival.  On Friday, I volunteered once again to jury for the fleece sale check in and in the afternoon taught my How To Choose a Fleece class - I really appreciate being able to bring the students right into the fleece sale and have them unrolling and learning hands on about fleece.  On Saturday and Sunday I taught four spinning classes - Hand Spindles (twice), Handpaint Magic Spinning and Traditional Wool Preparation.  I really was too busy to take photos!

In early October I made my third trip of the year to the Marshfield School of Weaving in Vermont for a 3 day October spinning class co-taught with Norman Kennedy.  My husband came along on this trip and we had a nice visit with our son in Northampton, MA - I visited WEBS twice! - and then my husband hiked and drove around Vermont all weekend enjoying the colorful splendor that is leaf season in Vermont.
This class was treated to a tour of some of the wonderful antique wheels and fiber tools that the Marshfield School of Weaving has recently acquired from the now dismantled American Textile Heritage Museum.
We had several antique wheels in class for students to try.

And I brought home a stunning Quebec wheel that I bought from Norman - an early wedding anniversary present.  Did you know that the 35th anniversary is for spinning wheels, too? 

These Canadian Production Wheels - CPW to the aficionado - have large wheels and are FAST! Great for high twist and/or speedy spinning.  They were designed to spin mill prepared pencil roving at a time when there were many wool mills and home spinners were trying to compete with factory production.  If you want to learn more, there is  great group on Ravelry called CPW Lovers.

We were away 10 days for this New England trip, then I was home for 10 days, catching up with my day job and home before I drove down to North Carolina for a week long Aran & Gansey Design knitting class at the John C Campbell Folk School.  It was a real treat to catch autumn in New England and then again in the Smoky Mountains!
I had a great group of students who produced quite an array of samples in our week together.

And then it was time for the Southeast Animal Fiber Fair in Asheville, where once again I taught my Acadian Weaving class.  I arrived Friday afternoon , set up my classroom and then dashed over to the fleece sale area.  A beautiful Corriedale fleece and half of a Wensleydale ram fleece were squeezed into my car for the trip home!

The grand finale of my 2017 teaching year was a weekend Tartan Throws class at Red Stone Glen Fiber Arts Center in Pennsylvania.  This was my first time teaching at Red Stone Glen and we have already scheduled another class for November 2018.  I had always enjoyed working with Tom Knisely and Sara Bixler at The Mannings, and they have brought all their expertise and sparkling creative energy to make Red Stone Glen a very special place for learning and camaraderie.

I celebrated my 60th birthday that weekend!  Is this the best birthday card ever?  What a wonderful way to enter my next decade!

I'm looking forward to teaching in some new venues in 2018, including Convergence in Reno, Nevada!  More on this soon.

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